Terry Collins came up a distant third in the NL Manager of the Year balloting on Tuesday night, with Cubs manager Joe Maddon taking home the prize for the second time in his distinguished career.
Collins received only three first place votes and 49 points from the Baseball Writers Association of America. Maddon on the other hand, received 18 first place votes, while Cardinals’ skipper Mike Matheny got nine first place votes.
While it is easy to say that Collins deserves the award based on the fact that his New York Mets swept Maddon’s Chicago Cubs in the NLCS, let’s remember the award is based mostly on regular season performance.
Maddon’s Cubs won 97 games in the regular season, a 24 win increase from the previous season. Many expected the Cubs to be good this year, but nobody expected them to be a 97 win ball club this year, and Maddon deserves a lot of credit for it.
The argument for and against Collins: It is hard to argue that Collins doesn’t deserve to win the award. He never lost the locker room during the tough times for the Mets in June and July, and guided the Mets to their best regular season finish since 2006, and their first World Series appearance in 15 years.
He had to handle the strong personality of Yoenis Cesdedes, and did so extremely well. A super star like this could be trouble, but Collins was able to mesh Cespedes nicely into the clubhouse. He handled the benching of Michael Cuddyer gracefully, and found a way to put up with Matt Harvey’s innings limits demands, all while trying to get the team to a division title.
Collins also found a way to keep the team moving with out David Wright for more than 2/3 of the season, and, remember he even handled the entire Wilmur Flores non-trade with professionalism.
That being said Collins is also the same guy who Mets fans wanted fired as recently as July. The team was struggling to get over .500 and needed those late July trades by Sandy Alderson to turn the season around. Without the Cespedes trade and the Juan Uribe trade it is fair to question whether the Mets even make the playoffs.
Collins has also drawn criticism from fans and media alike for his management style. He had a tendency to over manage in spots, and even mismanaged his rotation and bullpen, like we saw on a grander stage in the World Series.
As a manager and strategist, Maddon is better than Collins, even if Collins beat Maddon in the NLCS. Maddon infused a relaxed and focused atmosphere into the Cubs DNA right away in Spring Training. He tapped into the minds of the Cubs young players, earned their trust and got the most out of them. Under Maddon, rookie Kris Bryant lived up to the hype; Jake Arrieta became a monster at the top of the Cubs rotation, and just about every player in the Cubs lineup saw an increase in production from the previous season.
As much as Terry Collins deserved to be a NL Champion, and deserves consideration for manager of the year, the Baseball Writers got this one correct; Joe Maddon is the manager of the year.